Author: Kate Carlisle
This is only the second in a new series. I reviewed the debut book of the series, A High End Finish (click here) and we were honored to have a guest post from the author (click here). This time we have a legendary ship wreck and treasure to bring murder to a small town.
Copyright: January 2015 (Signet) 336 pgs
Series: 2nd in Fixer-Upper Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Main Character: Shannon Hammer, owner of restoration/renovation construction business
Setting: Modern day, Lighthouse Cove California (near San Francisco)
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Shannon is just going about her business, when she realizes her next door neighbor, the uncle of her BFF Jane, hasn't been seen around town. Worried about him, she checks in next door...and finds him dead and his home ransacked. The next few days reveal it is a suspicious death and Jesse, a former Navy Seal, had claimed to have found an antique jeweled necklace scuba-diving around a famous shipwreck off the shore of Lighthouse Cover. Most people thought it was another of Jesse's tall tales, but could somebody be looking for the necklace and Jesse got in the way? Shannon is once again in the middle of a murder investigation as she realizes somebody keeps sneaking into Jesse's house looking for something, and she is doing her best to help the police catch who may have killed Jesse under the guise of a heart attack. She begins a list of suspects and adds more as she uncovers information. Then there is another suspicious death.
Shanon maintains the strong and spunky persona in this addition, but adds determination to the list, and indecisive between the two men who like her. She can be suspicious and naive in turns. Jane, her BFF, is overwhelmed with her uncle's suspicious death and the grand opening of her new BandB. She reveals her vulnerability. Chief of Police Eric Jensen is settling into small town life, but still has little tolerance for Shannon's help but is also strung along as a potential romantic interest. Crime Writer MacKintyre Sullivan is kind-of dating Shannon and lends his support in trying to catch whoever continues to vandalize Jesse's house, kudos there. Lizzie, Marigold, and Emily are her closest friends along with Jane. They pitch in to assist their talents too. Whitney Reid has been Shannon's arch nemesis most of her life and has a few scenes where she is really horrible. Deputy Tommy, the high school sweetheart of Shannon, is married to Whitney and seems oblivious to how mean-spirited his wife is...which I have a hard time with. I keep waiting for him to grasp how black-hearted she is and file for divorce...but no, which makes me think he can't be all that nice himself then.
Lighthouse Cove California is a standard ocean-side town, but is set apart in this book by the legendary shipwreck of the Glorious Maiden clipper ship with a Spanish Princess aboard. The plot is simple and straight forward with a few well placed red herrings to mislead. The pacing maintained a good clip to keep interest. The climax was suspenseful and tense, managing to rival the climax in the debut and promising to be a staple for the series.
Ms. Carlisle has departed from the Bibliophile Mysteries to give us a another great heroine with interesting plots and gripping climaxes, essentially raising the bar for the cozy mystery.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.